Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Reykjavik, Iceland and Week One Greenland!

**Warning - There are a few Photos in this blog!**

I left Singapore tired/excited and ready for my next adventure - Iceland and Greenland. After flying from Singapore to Helsinki to Oslo to Reykjavik we were ready to just get out and walk!! The best part was that we saw a lot of different airports!! 

Just chilling!
The first whole day we had in Reykjavik we went to the Blue Lagoon.  That was great and so relaxing   We just floated and drank some beer and had a facial!!  I don't think that we really wanted to leave the Lagoon!  It is a geothermal Spa that has alot of minerals in the clay and the water.  When I put the mask on  - it didn't exactly make me look any better.... but it felt good! 

Looking good??? Maybe not!

Reykjavik is a beautiful city. It is very clean and then people are fantastic.  I felt so welcome there.  We explored the city that afternoon and found a great little pub.  It had happy hour so we figured that we would stay there to make the most of our value for money!  It was great fun as we met some wonderful people.  The locals there just embraced "the Aussie Girls" 

Graveyard near our hotel - just stunning

Tjörnin  -(the pond) in the middle of Reykjavik

Small little chap I found while having a coffee!

Horse-riding over the Lava field was great.  The Icelandic Horses are smaller than the mainland horses so my feet could just about touch each other!!  We saw a rainbow and the fields are just so green.  It was amazing (I think that I need to find a new word!)  I have no idea what my horses name was but I called him AUTO as he was just automatic!  (Which was a good thing as I was in no shape to be controlling a horse after the night before!!)  It rained but not too much and after 2 hours we were back in the bus off to the hotel again.  There was a cool little Laundry mat Café where we could have lunch and do our washing.  We walked around a bit and then of course we headed back to the little pub for happy hour!!  It was our last night in Iceland so we thought what better place to embrace the culture than a pub!!

In our cabin
Oh my Gosh the next morning, this was it!!  We packed up and had out luggage down in the lobby by 8:30!  Breakfast was had and then…we waited!!  I walked around the city again and actually found our ship!  It was pretty cool.  I officially got excited then!  It was like the longest 5 hours in my life and by the time we loaded on the bus I was ready to go and have a nap!  We arrived at the ship got welcomed and got given our cabins!  It was so cool!  We had our ‘bedroom’ as well as a ‘lounge’ area, bathroom and dresser.  It was all a bit exciting.  We had 106 passengers on the ship – most of the people were retired or close to that age but it looked like we were going to have fun.  We met another girl of our age from Aussie so the three of us hit it off.

Champers in the artic!
I will say that the whole entire time we were at sea the food was fantastic!  I have not eaten so well in ages!  We had breakfast, lunch (soup, burgers, a meat and carb meal, and dessert) afternoon tea and then dinner (soup, salad, main and dessert) I was so full!!

The first day/night we had the best weather and we arrived into Greenland a day earlier!  The water was calm (we for most of us!) and the speed of our sailing they had to cram all the safety lectures into the one day as well as the information sessions.  These were great as we learnt about the animals and the land and the history of Greenland and Iceland.  We met all the people that were going to be Kayaking and got all our gear ready to go out!  In amongst all the eating and the lectures we saw whales!!  Oh and that night, the first night of the voyage, we saw the Northern Lights!!  It was going to be a great trip!!


The second day it was time to land!  I got up early to see the sunrise (which was beautiful!!) and what do we see… a Polar Bear on land!  It was our first day!!  So no landing for the other people but we were able to go out and Kayak which was great!  There was a bit of a swell but it was great just to get out there and paddle.  After lunch we went to a township called Ittoqqortoormiit (try saying that fast!) which was great.  I went up to the graveyard and it was really eerie there.  There was no names on the crosses.  The fog didn't help the atmosphere either!  The people there were really friendly and it is amazing how they survive out there in the winter.  There were four wheelers and dogs and all sorts going on there.  The houses were painted in all these great bright colors which made the community really pretty.  Back on the boat and off we went to the next adventure for the next day.  We had recap and briefing for the next day and low and behold – time to feed again!!

Me and my Kayaking gear!
Fantastic scenery. Sunrise!

Polar Bear!!

First time Kayaking
I just wanted to say as well at this point in time that to get dressed for Kayaking there was many layers so we didn’t get cold.  Now, as I am self-insulated (a bigger lady!) I had only two layers to put on otherwise I wouldn't fit into the Kayak.  But it was still strenuous!!  I had Thermal pants, thermal top, track pants, rugby top, dry suit, jacket, spray skirt (which never stayed attached to the kayak so I was extreme Kayaking!!) booties, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses woollen gloves and then ski gloves.  Wow.. it took us nearly 20 mins each morning!!  Lucky we had a warning!

The next couple of days we hiked, kayaked and Zodiac cruised!  It was great we saw Glaciers and Icebergs and Must Ox (big hairy cows).  We had the best weather the first week, blue skies and the sun was magnificent.  Zodiac cruising was the best past some of the biggest icebergs.  They were massive!  So Blue and white and clear.. and so big!  I never thought that they would be so majestic.  They are magical and just wonderful.  The Glacier was massive and we got to get so close.  It was funny as I was having lunch (yes eating again!) outside and there was a glacier just coming up.  Just popped up!!  We saw the northern lights (again!) and they were just so spectacular.  The best night was when they danced right across the top of the boat.  It was just all green lights dancing like a curtain in a breeze.  And the stars were so bright.. ahh.

Arctic BBQ!

Now some people may think that I am a little crazy.. or possibly a little nutty.. but I proved everyone right.  I polar Plunged!!  Swimming in the Artic was a little cold, but it was great to do it.  I ran all the way out to a rock.  Well I tried as you know how hard it is to run in mud.. well try doing it when you cannot feel your feet!!  Makes it interesting!

Actually one of my most favourite days was when I went Zodiacing in the morning around all these icebergs that gather at an opening of two Fjords.  It was great to see all these different types of icebergs, one looked like Swiss cheese!  In the afternoon we got to cruise through Fon Fjord in the ship.  This was the most amazing experience.  There was surface ice formed in the Fjord and as the ship was cruising through dodging the icebergs you could hear the ice cracking underneath.  Even with the waves from the boat the ice would crack.  It was.. beautiful.  The sun shining, the ice bergs, the sound.. I will never forget it.  We cruised past the Artic version of Ayres Rock as well as some amazing mountains.  The captain that took us down there – he was great.  To be able to manoeuvre a ship of that size in an area that we cruised in.. hats off to him!
Swiss Cheese

Ayres Rock!!


So many photos and so many stories.. but I have more to tell as we have another week of cruising!  
What will happen next.. TBA!!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Singapore - September 2013

I flew into Singapore with a suitcase full of both cold and hot weather clothes, a carry on bag full of cameras and a stomach full of excitement.  I was not let down!  

Singapore was my stop over on the way to Iceland (blog to come!) We were there for 4 nights in total and we filled every single moment of those 4 days!!

I flew in and made my way to Marina Mandarin.  It was a nice hotel, situated in a great location to the MRT (trains) and a really good and cheap food court. By the time I had checked in and organised myself it was time to go back to the airport to pick up Jen who was going to travel with me on this adventure. We got there about 4 nights before the F1 was about to start so they were setting up the track. I was talking to the taxi driver about all the work that was going on and he mentioned that I was lucky that we were leaving after only 4 nights otherwise the accommodation prices would go up by 20%!

Our view from the Room
 The first day we headed to a Singapore City Tour.  This was great as we got to see the Botanical Gardens, in particular the Orchard Gardens as well as the Merloin, Chinatown and the Thian Hock Keng Temple, all the different Embassy in a drive by, and then Little India.  We ended up having lunch at little India which was great, cheap and tasty!!  They had fresh markets there that was selling spices and fresh seafood then it opened up to little food stalls, selling everything that you could want.  The only thing that we had to decide was what we wanted!  

Botanical Gardens

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

"Golden Showers" It is what the plant is called I promise!

Me and the Merloin

The morning turned afternoon going around the city was great but we had to get rest for the next day - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!  It was great!  There was so many rides, Madagaster, Happy Ever After, Jurassic Park, the Mummy Rollercoaster and then best one was Transformers!  It was great!  I was like a kid in a candy store all day. We didn't even eat till late in the day at a diner, the whole day went so fast!   We did have to line up for the Transformers ride but it was definitely worth it.  It span and turned and dived and it felt so real!  I would have lined up again for it but the park was closing! By the time this little black duck was back at the hotel she was buggered!

Looking Far Far Away


Our Third day in Singpoare and today was all about the animals.  We were up early again to head to the Zoo to have Breakfast with the Orangutans.  It was nice to see them up close and just chilled out while I was eating breaky.  You get to line up and have your photos taken with them which is quite close to the Orangutans.  You then get about 3 hours to explore the Zoo.  It is quite cool to see, some great statues and animals but they don't look all that happy.  It may be just me reading things into it but.. oh well it was a great Zoo to walk around and see.  We did it all in the 3 hours then we got to head back to the hotel to collect our luggage as we were off the the Raffles for the night!! So excited!!

Me and the Orangutans, (I'm the on in the front!)

Oh my Gosh it's a Giant Tiger!!

At the Raffles we didn't want to leave once we had checked in.  It was great so beautiful and stylish.  It is a Period Hotel with so much class and style.  I felt like royalty!  Was given a Singapore Sling when we were checking in (for freee!) and we were given a butler and - oh wow!  it was just great!

Raffles Hotel

The patio

Singapore Sling at the Raffles

Instead of having dinner at the hotel we went to complete our Animal day with the Night Safari.  That was pretty cool as the animals weren't in a cage and we were able to go through in a train through their sections. At the end we got to put our feet in the fish feeding thing.  It was pretty cool to have them come up and eat the dead skin off.  It tickled a bit too!! 

My feet being "cleansed" 

The last day at Singapore we just relaxed at the hotel and did nothing.  Swam in the pool - lay in the sun - swam in the pool - it was a hard morning! We thought that we should head out for a bit have see a bit more of Singapore (as we hadn't seen enough!) and went up to Marina bay Sands and had a look at the view from the top.  Buy the time we had walked around (the F1 track was being set up by this stage, I swear we walked the whole track!) it was time to get changed and ready for our three flights to the other side of the world!   

Where to next - TBA (well not really but it sounds good!!)